May 2004

Council For Jewish Elderly Serves Seniors Across Chicago Area

by John Fries

Older adults have unique needs and requirements. For seniors living in the greater Chicagoland area, the Council for Jewish Elderly (CJE) offers a range of services designed to meet those needs and provide excellent care and support. Older adults, whether living at home or requiring the protection available at a long term care facility, can benefit from CJE’s services.

For more than 30 years, CJE has been caring for seniors and helping them to enjoy the best quality of life possible. Today, with numerous facilities, programs and services, the agency continues to determine and meet seniors’ needs in a highly professional and confidential manner.

Also, CJE services are open to all; the agency serves both Jewish and non-Jewish seniors.

The CJE’s staff includes 800 highly skilled employees, from medical professionals like Dr. Sandy Finkel, a geriatric psychiatrist who works on site at the agency’s main office, to administrators, activity personnel, in-home workers, bus drivers and many others.

"We have a strong commitment to ensure that everyone who works at CJE is sensitive to the needs of older adults, so ongoing staff education and close supervision is continually provided to employees," said Susan Swartz, CJE’s media relations director.

She added that CJE’s commitment even extends to hiring people with bilingual abilities. "Given that a large number of seniors who seek assistance from the CJE are from the former Soviet Union," she said, "several members of the agency’s staff who are fluent in Russian are available to help in a variety of areas, including counseling and providing assistance with paperwork."

The commitment works. Last year, the CJE’s resource specialists fielded calls from 2,800 people seeking information about the agency’s programs and services.

Something for Everyone
Offerings at the agency are many, ranging from home health, adult day services, private care management, health education programs, blood pressure screenings, flu shots and more, to consumer assistance at CJE resource centers and Shabbat luncheons that provide hot meals, entertainment and socialization for isolated seniors.

CJE’s social workers provide counseling to help older people and family members cope with the daily stresses associated with aging. Support groups are offered to clients and caregivers.

For seniors living at home, the agency provides an array of services to help them remain independent. It also works with family members both nearby and far away to ensure that their loved ones receive the best possible care.

The volume is mind-boggling. Last year alone, CJE in-home workers spent nearly 192,000 hours providing personal care services for at-home seniors, including bathing, shopping, laundry and housecleaning assistance. They also prepared and delivered about 154,000 nutritious, kosher meals—including brisket, whitefish, salmon patties and stuffed peppers--to those who were unable to shop for food.

And that’s just the beginning. Last year, the agency helped more than 500 seniors apply for health benefits and pharmaceutical discounts, and its "Shalom" buses made 62,600 trips to transport seniors to medical appointments, grocery stores and CJE community education programs.

Looking for a New Home?
For seniors in search of housing, CJE provides a number of diverse options, including apartments, assisted living residences, retirement homes and a long-term care facility.

Members of the CJE’s experienced staff are always glad to meet with seniors and their family members, explain the benefits of each, and help them determine the most appropriate living arrangements.

CJE’s Lieberman Geriatric Health Centre, located in Skokie, is a 240-bed, skilled long-term care facility for very frail seniors who need residential care. Lieberman features private rooms, and also provides post-hospitalization rehab care, as well as nursing and therapy for patients covered by Medicare.

Amenities at Lieberman include an onsite health center, dining room with Kosher meals, beauty and barbershop, synagogue, social hall and sculpture garden. Each week, the facility’s agenda includes an assortment of recreational, religious and rehabilitative programs.

CJE’s Short Stay Rehab at Lieberman Centre helps patients reach their maximum potential and quickly return home to an independent lifestyle.

Lieberman's fifth floor is home to residents with Alzheimer’s disease and other cognitive disorders. The floor features specially designed furniture and other resources, and staff members plan and schedule creative activities.

Swartz said the objective is to help each patient live a happy, safe and productive life. "Maximizing abilities, rather than emphasizing disabilities, is one of the most important ways to offer support to a person who has Alzheimer’s," said Swartz. "We encourage and foster an approach to Alzheimer’s and dementia care that views residents, families and staff as partners in the caregiving process."

CJE continues to grow and expand, and inquiries come in daily via telephone and the agency’s website. The agency also provides referrals to seniors across the U.S., who don’t have access to CJE programs, services and resources in the Chicago area.

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Copyright © 2005 by John Fries, Pittsburgh, PA.
Please direct all correspondence to john@johnfries.com